As Bear Stearns (NYSE:BSC) prepares to announce its second-quarter earnings this week, investors will likely be looking for some impressive results from the bulge bracket investment bank. In each of the previous four quarters, Bear Stearns has beaten the estimates that Wall Street analysts have set before it. After a strong earnings report from competitor Lehman Brothers (NYSE:LEH) on Tuesday, it seems very possible that Bear could continue its bullish ways.

After the earnings are released, we'll have plenty of data to dig into. But before that happens, let's step back and take a look at what investors think about Bear Stearns as a long-term investment. To gain this insight, I've tapped into Motley Fool CAPS, where more than 30,000 investors have joined together to offer their thoughts on over 4,600 companies, Bear among them. Here's what Fools have to say about the company.

Up or down?
There have been 206 investors who have weighed in on Bear, and the community has sighed a collective, well, sigh of boredom.

Out of a possible five stars, Bear gathered up three -- right smack in the middle. Overall, 92% of players that have weighed in on Bear have been bullish on it. When it comes to the CAPS All-Stars -- those investors who are in the top 20% of all CAPS players -- Bear was given the nod a somewhat better 94% of the time.

Among comparable stocks, Bear finds itself lost in the middle of the pack on CAPS.


CAPS Rating

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS)


Bear Stearns


Lehman Brothers


Merrill Lynch (NYSE:MER)


Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS)


Thomas Weisel Partners (NASDAQ:TWPG)


Cowen Group (NASDAQ:COWN)


Wall Street vs. Main Street
When we turn to those Wall Street types, we find that half of the 16 analysts following the stock don't care to make a call one way or the other and say you should just hang on. The other eight analysts have given Bear the thumbs-up.

The relatively moderate outlook on the stock has been reflected in the stock's price. After the stock touched $170 earlier in the year, the market has shaved 14% off the price to leave it back at $146 today. Over the past 12 months, the stock has been handily bettered by the S&P to the tune of 12 percentage points.

Bull pitch
CAPS All-Star and Bear Stearns bull Jeffreyw thinks that the "financial powerhouses" like Bear are "being run by the best financial minds in the world" and are undervalued at their current P/E multiples.

Cheathering adds:

I happen to have a generally bullish view on investment banks as of late, given the fact that signs of slowing economic growth seem to have very little overall effect on the amount of deals being done. Bear Stearns had a great year last year in terms of winning and achieving on some of the biggest deals, and they should remain one of the top players in the game in that respect.

Bear pitch
On the bearish Bear side, CAPS player coalcentury7 keeps it short and sweet: "My housing crash is going to kick the [$^%&] out of your Asian boom."

Who said that?
To learn the identities of the wise Fools who penned these words and explore the wealth of additional financial data we've put together on the company, just click here.

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy had a page on MySpace, but became way too popular and ended up spending all of its time updating its photos.